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The Broken Vessel

posted 1 Jun 2011, 15:14 by A Clarke   [ updated 1 Jun 2011, 15:41 ]
A special ritual referring to the brokenness of the
Church to-day and featuring a candle and a broken
pottery vessel took place after the reading of the
Passion at the Good Friday Service.
Our picture shows the broken pottery vessel resting
on a purple cloth. Purple symbollses the sorrow we
feel at what has happened in our Church over the
last 50 years.

The broken pieces represent our Church today. It
says something to us of the brokenness of the
people of God, at the present time. Broken, dam-
aged, abused, hurt, by the sins and crimes of some
of its People. A vast number of People have been
further hurt, confused, betrayed, by the secrecy and
cover up that followed the revelations. Many sincere
Catholics are struggling to stay with and in the
The broken pieces of pottery were brought to the altar by
four parishioners, where the vessel was re-assembled
around the candle on the purple cloth.
The symbolism of each of the four broken pieces of
pottery is explained below
Initially we brought a candle,
which symbolised the light and
person of Christ, who has promised
to be with us 'even to the end of the world'.

The first piece of broken pottery
carried up to the altar represented
the survivors of abuse and those
who unfortunately did not survive.
The many adults and children
who carried their pain, loss of
childhood, and anger at not being
believed or heard for many years,
often without much support and
without hope of justice or the possibility
of the truth coming out.
The second piece represented the
general body of believers who
have been shocked, angered,
disillusioned, and disturbed by
the revelations of the Ryan and
Murphy reports, but who struggle
to hold on to their faith in Jesus
and who look to the Holy Spirit to
show the way forward.
The third piece of pottery repre-
sented those who are no longer
part of the Catholic Church,
having tumed away dlslllusloned
and dismayed to follow their own
spiritual path.
The fourth plece represented
those who told their stories, ex-
posed the truth, and revealed it to
the nation. Through their courage,
these people made known the
cancer within our institutions, and
now perhaps the process of
healing can begin.
The broken pieces were assembled on the purple
cloth. Again we have a purple cloth symbolising the
sorrow we feel for all who have suffered abuse. These
pieces of pottery can be pieced together again but
this vessel will never be the same a ain. It will bear
the scars, the cracks of its brokenness. So too the
Survivors of Abuse carry their wounds as Christ
carried the scars of the crucifixion on his hands, his
feet and his side when he appeared after his resurrec-
tion. So too the entire Church will bear the scars for a
long time. Healing takes a long time.
The pottery pieces were assembled around the
candle. Notice how the light filters out through the
cracks showing how Christ and the Spirit can bring
good out of the most horrible situations.
And so we pray:
Our response is: Walk with them Lord.
  • For all those who have suffered abuse. R
  • For those who have lost hope. R
  • For those who struggle to hold onto their faith. R
  • For forgiveness for all perpetrators of crimes against others, especially the young. R
  • For all who are sick and in pain. R
  • For those who have died: eternal rest grant unto themOLord. R

Church of the Assumption, Howth.